MOORE — Austin Allen knew his team needed him, and he delivered, going to the hoop over and over again, drawing fouls, hitting bank shots and layups and scoring almost at will.

The senior forward from Norman High finished with 31 points to lead the Tigers (5-5) back to .500. Thanks to a 55-50 victory over Moore the Tigers earned a homecoming sweep over the Lions.

“When it comes down to the end, you get it to your best guy,” NHS coach Wes Clark said. “That’s Austin. People are going to start realizing he’s a go-to player. I think what you saw in Austin was a real desire and drive to win. He picked us up and put us on his shoulders.”

Allen scored 25 of his career-high points in the second half, and added five rebounds and a team-high three assists.

When he wasn’t beating his man, and sometimes a double-team, for layups, Allen was hitting shots from the free-throw line. He finished 15-of-18, and set another career high, from the charity stripe.

“I’ve never been to the line that much,” Allen said. “That was ridiculous. I think I shot 16 free throws against Westmoore last year.”

The Tigers led by as many as 13 in the third quarter, but almost blew the lead and allowed the Lions within one point with 2:30 left in the game.

Moore guard John Clark was 5-of-13 from 3-point range and finished with 17 points. His 3-pointer put the Lions within that one point, but Allen still had some trips to the line coming his way.

In the final minute, Allen hit 3-of-4 free throws, making it a six-point game with 38 seconds left. The Tiger defense applied good pressure, and despite some missed free throws from Joe Lawson and Jarrod Boersma, NHS was able to hold on to win, improving to 3-3 in Mid-State Conference play.

“Sometimes we’re our own worst enemy,” Clark said. “We get away from the things that got us the lead. In the third quarter, we got away from team play and executing, going to much to one-on-one. We can’t have that. But part of the growth this team is experiencing, they were able to suck it up and did enough things to win.

“I thought our defense was really good there at the end, which is the sign of a good team.”

The Tigers also dominated the paint most of the game. Center Kyle Hardrick finished with nine points, eight rebounds and three blocked shots. But Hardrick didn’t play the fourth quarter.

Tuesday, it was Allen’s show.

“I didn’t think I really played as well as I could have at the McGuinness Tournament (last week),” Allen said. “It’s good to get back and feel like I’m playing well again.”

Jeff Johncox


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